North by Degree: New Perspectives on Arctic Exploration is a stimulating volume of papers on the history of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Arctic exploration. The contributors have contextualized expeditions, examining the social, cultural, technological, and environmental settings in which endeavors were conceived and carried out, and how they were described and understood by the public. A conference honoring Robert E. Peary's historic 1908–09 North Pole Expedition and recognizing the third International Polar Year (2007–09) brought together researches from a variety of disciplines whose work touches on different facets of Arctic exploration. Susan A. Kaplan (The Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College) and Robert McCracken Peck (Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia) invited the Philadelphia Area Center for the History of Science (PACHS) and the American Philosophical Society (APS) to partner with them. "North by Degree: An International Conference on Arctic Exploration" was a result of the collaboration and took place in Philadelphia in May 2008. The papers in North by Degree: New Perspectives on Arctic Exploration are a subset of those presented at the conference and are authored by scholars from many disciplines, including English, art history, anthropology, archaeology, history, ethnohistory, and Native American studies. The papers cast light on aspects of exploration not examined in most biographies of explorers, official expedition narratives, or overviews of the history of Arctic exploration.
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Susan A. Kaplan is Professor of Anthropology and Director of The Peary–MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center at Bowdoin College. Robert McCracken Peck is Curator of Art and Artifacts at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia.